From Successful Educator to Trail Bum

When I tell others I am doing a thru-hike, they look at me like I am crazy. Respond by reminding me of the glorified teaching position I hold and remind me that it comes with benefits and a summer break. But in reality, I think most teachers come to school and impact kids in positive ways and come home asking themselves why they are a teacher; at least I do every day.

My name is Whitney, and the trail name is Ms.G. After teaching for four years and spending my summers as an adventure trip leader for kids ages 10-17, I decided it was time I do something for myself. After teaching for three years in Mississippi in the poorest county in America, where, no joke, kindergartners brought guns to school, I knew I could face any challenge life threw my way. So after deciding between becoming a raft guide, trying to live like Alexander Supertramp and quitting on society, or thru-hiking the AT, I decided that thru-hiking was the best option.

I am not an avid backpacker. I do not exercise daily and eat the best, but I know what my little heart desires and it is to walk 2,190 miles through 14 states and learn more about myself. I don’t care what your reason for wanting to hike the AT is, if you want to do it then do it. After losing my dad in 2016 I realized life is short and we should do what will make us happy.

So for all the people who roll their eyes when I tell them about my plans to thru-hike, screw you. No retirement plan or classroom can hold me back. If anything maybe my students can learn from me that going outside is actually enjoyable, but who am I? You know, just teacher of the year 2016 quitting my “glorified (hellish), underpaid job” to become a trail bum. Hell yeah… a trail bum.

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Comments 2

  • Avatar
    Philip Hearnden : Feb 7th

    Hi Whitney

    What a great story.

    As a fellow educator I do well understand the emotions and resolution your blog entry aspires to.

    Look forward to meeting you on the trail

    Treetrunk – starting April 2

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Katy Amphlett : Feb 12th

    I’m a TFA alum, too! I’m starting my hike April of this year. And, no matter what anyone says, this will be an awesome adventure! Happy trails!

    Reply

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